So much to say…

And yet, none of it is ready to be shared here publicly yet.

I’m asking myself a lot of Big Life questions lately – why am I here, what is my purpose, what provides me with meaning, why am I the only one who can go outside and get the mail on a regular basis…

I have some ideas.  Some of them are concrete.  Some of abstract.

One thing I’ve realized, finally, at the age of 33, is that I’m ready to be true to myself.  All 137 lbs, 5’5″, fake blond haired parts of me.  It’s with that said that I’ve decided to migrate this blog to a new home: jacquelinepoehlman.com. I’ve had a “professional website” up there for a few years, and being able to combine it with the powers of WordPress will simplify many parts of my life.

I’ve struggled through much of my life with keeping my personal and my professional life separate.  As technology has made things easier, I think I’m at the point where I need to be OK to blur the lines. Yes, I’m a mom. Yes, I’m a marketer/writer.  Yes, I have a crush on Steve Yzerman.  But all of those things are what make Jacqueline Poehlman ME. It’s time for me to stop being afraid of what people will think!

Update your feed readers and subscriptions and all that stuff now and hope to see you over at my new home!

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One little word: Mindfulness

Things I hate on the Internet:

*gift guides.  They never include anything anyone besides me would want to purchase. I nearly went postal during December!

*cat memes (except when Betsy is with me)

*any sort of reading, weight loss, personal productivity, etc “challenges”

So because of my hatred of #3, I almost chose not to participate in any yearlong reflection-y mumbo jumbo.  I also don’t scrapbook, so Ali Edward’s “One Little Word” really didn’t mean much to me.  But I kept seeing it come up in posts all over the place, and a word kept sticking with me…so, here goes.

Mindfulness.

It’s a word that’s so easy to think of, but yet, few people (including myself) truly understand what it means.  It’s my goal for the year to discover and embrace it.

Being mindful of what foods I put in my body, and how I use my energy throughout the day.

Being mindful of other people, and how my actions may be perceived.  Especially when it comes to my children and husband 🙂

Being mindful of my role in the world, and how I can make it a better place. That includes the future of this blog (I have some ideas…stay tuned!).

Being mindful of each day, and trying to find time for reflection.  This is the year I try to figure out how to meditate, and I have a weekly yoga class I’m going to try to attend.

What is your little word for this year?

 

 

 

Dear self (a life letter for 2015)

Note: I can’t take credit for this awesome post idea. Go read Kath Eats for her original take on this.

Hey you…
January: stop indulging already, the holidays are over. You know your body will start to crave the stuff it needs when you quit clouding it up with junk. More green smoothies, less pizza. OK, with some caveats. Eat the REAL good stuff, the stuff that you’d eat even if you weighed 250 lbs. Not M’s Pop Tarts because they are the only breakfast item you can find.

February: This is your hardest month of the year, emotionally. Your mom and dad go to Florida for a much-deserved retirement vacation, A is in sweeps so he’s really busy, and the snow never ends. Cut yourself some slack. Try out hot yoga or splurge for a visit to the Kroc Center for the kids. Try to enjoy the opportunities this month provides you. Have you taken the kids sledding yet?

March: spring is on the horizon, you can make it! If it’s above 32 degrees, go outside and run. It’ll help your 10K speed and your spirits. If it never gets to that point, well…it’s almost April 🙂 Have you started thinking about what to do with M this summer?

April: start begging A to get the bikes out!

May: this month, your little boy will be 8. What have you done lately to show him how special he is to you? You know he is a sensitive soul like you, so what would YOU appreciate?

June: You’re taking your birthday off this year and leaving your phone home while you get a pedicure. No debates needed.

July: you’ll be celebrating your little C, and the other C’s new bundle of joy. Make sure to be there for her during those tough newborn days. You’ll never forget how she saved you when your daughter was 3 weeks old and you were ready to lose it. She came over with a coffee at lunch and made you laugh and made you remember yourself again.

August: You’ll be in Ludington this month! Treasure every moment of M&C’s relationship with your cousins. They are all growing up far too fast.

September: Don’t be sad summer is over, be happy that ArtPrize is here! You have the vacation time available, so take it and truly enjoy the favorite part of the city where you live.

October: Don’t bother buying anything until at least October 25. This is the time where you should stop looking at Pinterest. Plus, no one likes 3-week-old candy.

November: Do more holiday stuff now, so you can enjoy the holidays in December. Ask A for his gift list now so your mom doesn’t stress about him so much. She means well…

December: NOT IMPORTANT: doing all the holiday things. V. IMPORTANT: the time you spend with your children while they are young enough to believe in magic.

In 2014…

  • I started this blog, and a few of you are reading it! Yay!
  • celebrated 10 years of marriage to this man. He’s still pretty awesome.
  • lost 45 pounds, and have kept them all off despite a few weeks of overindulging. Thank you, little cest pool of germs known as C, and multiple rounds of the stomach flu.
  • Failed miserably at my goal of renewing my creative passion, art journaling, and/or using my craft room as something besides a storage haven/office/kids play area. But I did move into a new role at work that has given me a lot more artistic freedom (I design ads!) so I don’t count this as a total flop.
  • Took Facebook off my phone, and quit Instagram entirely. I don’t regret either decision.
  • Survived the polar vortex. It was seriously that bad.
  • Joined a church.
  • Stopped knitting for a while (but I’ve since started again).
  • Started running again and signed up for a 10K.
  • Purged my closet.
  • Bought a new car, which I still love.
  • Enjoyed my son’s first year of organized sports, despite how hectic they make my life.
  • Took a step back from most of my friendships to focus on my family life. Guess what? The good people stuck around. I miss you guys…
  • Loved watching the Spartans take the Rose Bowl, for my dad’s sake.
  • Fell in love with where we live.

Not being the Pinterest mom

I’ve thrived on giving my children “experiences.” I constantly wonder if they are getting too much screen time. In other words, I struggle to make the “right” mom choices for my kids.
Never is that struggle stronger than during the holidays, where we are bombarded with messages of consumerism and crafty. May I include my four dirty words Elf on the Shelf, as a perfect illustration of both?

Today I learned that sometimes it is easier to make the “right” mom choice than it is to truly listen. Here’s my story:

It’s Recliner Thirty in my house, the blissful time where C has gone to bed, the fat pants have been donned, and for the first time all day I can do what I want. Today, that is to drool on Pinterest. M comes up from the basement.

“Mommy, will you watch the game with me?”
Me, in Pinterest fog: “Honey, do you want to go see Santa this year? What sort of Christmas cookies will we make? Do you want to go see a lights display?”
M: “No, I really just want to watch the game right now.”
He pauses: “but I guess we could make cookies. With chocolate.”

It dawned on me then: kids don’t make bucket lists. Moms do them, so they can share this stuff on Facebook 🙂

I scratched a few things off my own winter fantasy just then, thanking my lucky stars I don’t have to shell out big bucks or spend time on an overpriced Santa visit at the mall.

Then I told M to get on his pajamas and I’d watch the game with him for a bit. His reply: “men don’t wear pajamas.”

Men? Even more reason to put aside the bucket list and enjoy every fleeting second of this kid. He is growing up too fast for me.

Not the time for a clean house

Every week, I clean. I vacuum, I Swiffer, give everyone clean sheets, and put away the things. This week, in light of company coming for Thanksgiving, I cleaned on Tuesday.

It’s Friday now, my house is a mess, and I couldn’t be happier.

The mess is remnants of delicious food made. The mess is a scattering of a little girl’s scribbles. The mess is a 7 year old’s impromptu football game. The mess is the new shower doors my husband installed yesterday, that I told him I didn’t want but are really awesome. The mess is a blanket in which I took a nap yesterday.

There will not always be a mess. At some point I will have to put away the dishes and laundry, put my books back into piles, and take out the trash.

As an aside, was I the only one amazed and disgusted by the size of the Thanksgiving newspaper ads? I’m so glad 8 trees had to die so I could view those 60″ TV deals.

But aside from that…today is a day to enjoy the mess. Even the mashed potato hat my daughter crafted during dinner.

Happy post-Thanksgiving.

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Round here

Today was a rough day, in the “holy crap how do you expect me to get all this done before Thanksgiving” heart-palpatation-inducing sense.  When those days happen, I need to go to a happy place when I get home.  Mostly, that’s Pinterest, with it’s ever-changing flow of cookies, cute clothes, and crafts that I might someday get to.  But in reality, my life is still very much not that ambitious, though I still feel I’m climbing out of the weeds.

Today, the thing that made things all better was Katie’s post, and it was simply one of those typical blog lists of the things she’s been loving lately.  Seeing someone embrace a few remaining fall leaves and the ubiquitous Starbucks red cup was enough to make today seem a little brighter. So I’m gonna do the same thing here. As of right now, I am:

  • running more, although my lung capacity is still recovering from whatever viral infection is having its happy dance through this body.  I hit over 4 miles yesterday and it felt really amazing.
  • wishing for some good news for my husband. He deserves it. That’s all I’ll say here.
  • relishing the past weekend spent with no to-do’s, and nothing greater accomplished than taking my kids to Steak-n-Shake.

    Little C’s first trip to Steak-n-Shake. We discovered she likes ketchup.

  • preparing to go shopping over the holiday. Even though I hate crowds, and there’s nothing I need, I’m still thinking there will be That One Amazing Deal that I must pursue.  Plus, we live 5 minutes from a mall. Resistance is futile.
  • drinking far too many Skinny Peppermint Mochas from the Bucks. OK, they’ve gotten mentioned twice in this post already. Someone better get me a gift card…
  • listening to not enough podcasts, based on the 30+ Unplayed number that iTunes keeps taunting me with. But like everyone else, I am obsessed with Serial.
  • watching my little guy race in his school’s Turkey Trot tomorrow. So proud of him!
  • basking in the sounds of every single new word C comes up with.  Today’s find: robot (an Imaginext variety, but the intent was there).
  • waking far too early, and I’m not sure why.  When you decide that you might as well go to the gym at 6 am ON A SATURDAY MORNING BECAUSE YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN UP AN HOUR….something’s gotta give.
  • wearing all the boots, and a few new things that got added in a mini-Old Navy spree last week.  Happy winter, right?
  • not eating enough fruit. I’m not a citrus gal, and I’m petering out on apples and bananas. It’s gonna be a long cold season.
  • enjoying my friend’s new blog.
  • cheering the creation of Amazon Cloud Drive Photos and that my photos are now all. in. one. place.  Prime, you continue to be the best $100 I spend each year.

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    M meeting Johnathan Rand, one of his favorite authors, at a recent Barnes & Noble event.

  • finishing the world’s never ending blanket, and looking forward to kicking out a few smaller knitting projects.
  • reading Shopaholic to the Stars. I love me some Sophie, but this one’s a little far fetched.
  • anticipating the start of Advent now that I have *officially* joined a church. It’s an absolutely beautiful sanctuary, and I fully expect seeing it dressed for the holidays will bring me to tears.
  • loving that my son is finally turning into a reader (see right).
  • savoring the hour before bedtime, with a cozy blanket, howling wind, and whatever I feel like doing.

Simplicity – on winter and other things

It snowed here for the first time in a long time this week. Amid the many Facebook cursings of slow drivers, long commutes, and cold temperatures, I felt surprisingly…ok with it. Not to say that I love winter – I had to pick out a new debit card today and without hesitation I selected the lovely warm beach scene. But there’s something about the cold season that envokes a sense of slowing down. The quiet of the snowflakes compared with the loud crash of thunder and wailing rain. The migration indoors. Staying home and not making plans because you don’t know what the weather will hold. The vivid colors of fall are fading to a simple color palette of white, with a few smidgens of gray and brown. Even dressing suddenly becomes simpler (though I did rock my new herringbone vest today!).

I’m currrently battling the mother of all colds, and my self is fighting me because there are so many things I want to accomplish, and yet my body is insisting “Stop. Lay. Listen. Be.”

The minister at my church sends out a weekly email, and every week he starts it by reminding us to take 7 seconds for a deep breath. There will be enough time for everything, he insists. And he’s right. Even in the most impossible of deadlines, something always happens…a lightbulb moment, and things happen, just the way that they should.

I’m going to sign off now, enjoy a simple supper, maybe read or knit, and for right now, that’s all I need.

Out from the weeds

There’s a phrase at work I like to use: “in the weeds.”

I hope it’s not as annoying a corporate buzzword as “low hanging fruit” or “closing the gaps.” Right now, I’m “in the weeds” on using a new piece of software, working with a new vendor, and a bunch of other stuff that you don’t need to read about right now. Surmise it to say, I’m delightfully busy.

But in my home life, I was reveling in the realization that I’m no longer “in the weeds” of newbornhood with my daughter anymore. It happened when day care sent home a residual couple of bottles that had been left there. I was going to throw them in the dishwasher, but I realized then: I WILL NEVER NEED THESE AGAIN in my life.

It’s the right choice, for sure. We got a completely perfect son and daughter, and I can’t imagine adding any more chaos to our world. I’m not even sure I could handle a goldfish.

But, I’m starting to be able to work on my knitting again. I’ve been able to pick up and read a real book. I’ve watched a few movies. I’ve cooked meals that take longer than 10 minutes to put together.

Part of that is due to C’s personality – she is a very adaptable, roll-with-it kinda gal. Not to say that it’s any better or worse than her more spirited big brother, but the second time around, it is such a relief to have a little girl who is content to sit in her high chair for a few minutes with a snack or an Elmo video so I can, well, live life (truthfully, it’s usually to go to the bathroom!). Or, as seen here, drawing Mommy pictures while I work or play online. 

We’re still busy, and our life is still chaos – I’m sure the holiday season and the fact that we just signed M up for hockey lessons will send me spiraling back to panic mode in a few weeks. But for at least this moment – life seems a lot more hopeful.

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What I learned from my capsule wardrobe experiment (and why I won’t be repeating it)

Earlier this year, I embarked on a style challenge in which I only wore 37 items in my closet.

It was the bee’s knees. I can safely say that getting dressed in the morning has become more streamlined. I no longer have to try on outfits to know what works together. I can confirm that no one noticed I was wearing the same things over and over again.  I learned that I really do not need that many clothes.

I’ve purged my closet, then gone back, and purged some more. Then tonight, I purged more clothes.  I’m no longer afraid to get rid of things that just aren’t working for me 100%.

Most of my best pieces come from Forever 21, Old Navy, and Ann Taylor castoffs from Goodwill.  I shopped one time for the season (in August) and haven’t set foot in the stores since.

Up until last week, I was fully convinced that it was the best way to corral my wardrobe.

Then Halloween happened.  Living in Michigan, we routinely joke about extreme weather changes, but folks, I’m not exaggerating.  It was 75 degrees on Monday, and then it snowed on Friday.  I realized as I was preparing to take my son out trick-or-treating that I did not have any items in my capsule that would adequately allow me to take him out trick-or-treating.  And it seemed silly to be ridiculously cold out of some self-restricted fashion principle.

Yes, the upcoming season is winter, and that is seemingly predictable.  But the predictability is what makes it all the more streamlined already. My winter outfits revolve around button downs or cotton tops layered with sweaters or puffer vests over top, with pants and either ankle or tall boots. I rarely wear dresses or skirts, because they are impractical when there is two feet of snow on the ground.

So, we shall see how it goes this time around. I’m hoping winter doesn’t last long – I’m sure that by the time spring approaches I’ll be DYING to do some shopping.